Tuesday 16 April 2019

The Secret Teacher lands in London


A loud rattling followed by a soft bump jolts me awake as the plane’s wheels meet wet tarmac. The bright, white overhead lights fill my eyes, slowly forcing them open.


I turn my head away from the window and towards the aisle. I’m relieved to see that the elderly gentleman in the middle seat who spent most of the flight sleeping — and drooling — on my shoulder has returned to a normal sitting position.


Over the speaker, a flight attendant says:


“...and thanks again, ladies and gentlemen, for choosing to fly with us today. If London is home for you, welcome home! If you’re on holiday, welcome, and have a wonderful stay.”


And that brings me to why I’m writing this. When I landed in London that day, I wasn’t on holiday, nor was London my home — but it is now. I guess I should tell you how that came to be.


I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. People tell you, “it’s not a job, it’s a calling,” and they’re right. Not once during my teacher training in Canada did I doubt my decision to become a teacher. Sure, there were difficult days, but they only made me more determined.


My teaching practices were the best part of my studies. I just couldn’t get enough of being in the classroom. Sharing knowledge with my pupils, listening to (and sometimes refereeing) their animated debates.


Where I’m from, there are very few full-time teaching jobs to go around. I wasn’t interested in waiting on a supply list forever or working in a bar at night to supplement my income from part-time work: so I decided it was time to look into teaching jobs abroad.


After many late nights spent researching international schools hiring teachers — fuelled by a little bit of ambition and a whole lot of coffee — the choice was obvious.

I was going to teach in London.


It ticked all the boxes: full-time teaching jobs, loads of career opportunities, great education system, countless things to do and see at the weekend.


Next came the task of picking a teacher placement agency to help me through this huge journey I’d decided to embark upon. I scoured websites, making pros and cons lists and weighing them up against what was important to me. I knew I was going to need help finding accommodation in London, for a start. But my main concern was, “what about when I’m actually in the classroom?”


Aside from the logistical aspects of the move (booking flights, getting travel insurance, trying to stuff a year’s worth of clothes into two suitcases), my biggest worry was not being prepared for the classroom. I knew how to plan lessons and teach at home, but I also knew that things in England would be different.


That’s ultimately why I chose Uteach.

I got in touch with a representative who confirmed that, yes, they would help me make sure I had accommodation arranged well before I arrived — but they’d also help me after I got to London.


They were offering something called “Uteach Lessons,” a giant library of ready-made lesson plans that were designed specifically for international teachers like me who are coming to teach in England. My representative sorted me out with a free trial so I could explore the lesson library and see what other overseas teachers were saying about it.


It was exactly what I was looking for to give me the confidence to step into that classroom in London and begin the teaching career I had dreamed of for so long.


My decision was made and, soon after, I was interviewing with schools across London. Then, Uteach were calling me to tell me I’d been offered a full-time teaching job. Now, here I am months later, being scolded by my mother over the phone when I refer to the UK as “home.”


But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m excited to share my story with you, and I hope you’ll tune in next week to find out what happened when I got off the plane into that grey, London drizzle that I’ve come to love.


Until then,


The Secret Teacher, Amazing Amy xo

Would you move abroad to teach full-time? Or have you already? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

  • By Amazing Amy
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